Most of the time, you will hear these terms when you are looking at places that make suits. These are terms that can be easily confused within the fashion industry. Sometimes, suit businesses wrongly call themselves bespoke when they are in-fact made-to-measure. Because of this, we have made this guide to clear up the confusion.
Made-to-Measure means that the client can pick from a variety of fabrics, linings and sometimes even buttons to build a suit that is truly unique to that individual. A series of pre-designed patterns are used to cut the fabric to the specifications of the client.
Depending on the master tailor and their systems, additional adjustments can be made to the client's suit in order to give them a better fit. Some of these additions include adjusting the shoulder width, jacket length, and sleeve length. A good tell-tale sign of a good fitting suit is to determine how many measurements are taken into consideration. Under 10 is no good, 15 – 20 is standard, and 25+ is very thorough. Every body is built differently and the more that is taken into consideration is usually a good sign.
Shops that are made-to-measure are designed so that customers can walk in, get their measurements taken, and be fitted usually within 4 – 8 weeks. Once the suit is finished, they will likely try it on one more time for final adjustments to be made. Made-to-measure isn’t perfect but if done right, will give you an amazing fit.
The customization of made-to-measure suits are limited. Usually you would be able to change things such as the suit pattern, the number of buttons it has, the pocket styles, lining options and some of the cuff styles. However, the options range from business to business. Made-to-measure suit prices vary depending on brands and their locations. They are usually between $500 - $2000.
The term bespoke means to speak about something beforehand. Compared to made-to-measure suits, there are significantly more body measurements that are required for a bespoke suit including details such as your posture and the way your shoulders slope. By the way, both of your shoulders are probably different from each other. Every single fabric pattern is cut individually to your body and a true bespoke suit will take anywhere form 3-5 fittings to upwards of 8-12 weeks to make.
Furthermore, you have full control over every aspect of the suit including customizing the lapel width, the inner lining construction, the pocket piping, the buttons, and even the stitching types on the lapels. There are no boundaries with what you can customize. This results in a higher quality suit that is extra unique, fits like it was made for you (because it was), and is usually crafted entirely by hand. With that being said, a bespoke suit comes at a premium cost. These suits usually cost upwards of $2500 - $5000 or even more.
Aside from just the cost and time, the difference with a made-to-measure and bespoke garment really boils down to how the patterns are cut, the amount of customization and how many fittings it will take to make them. When shopping around, ask how many fittings you can expect and you will be able to determine what you are getting.
Some of us, like DV Clothiers, are in between bespoke and made-to-measure. Here, our pattern cutting is made-to-measure but our measurement process, body profiling and design options truly set us apart. Many have considered us to be as close to bespoke as you can get. We even have Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) programs that help us measure the finer details such as your posture and shoulder slope angles. We haven't even mentioned the design capabilities that we have.
With that being said, I hope that the differences between made-to-measure and bespoke are now clearer for you.
Sure all made-to-measure providers offer the ability to contrast lapel holes and sleeve buttons, but how cool is it that you can choose from some of the tri-color options and flower shape lapel holes seen below.
You can also download a copy of our style guide to get a sneak peak of what we can do.
What little details of the suit do you care about the most?
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